Win a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio: A Children’s Edition


A new book has been published that aims to make Shakespeare’s works more accessible to young people through an abridged and illustrated version of the landmark book that helped to ensure William Shakespeare’s legacy in world culture over 400 years ago.

The book, known more famously as the First Folio, has been the cornerstone of establishing and expanding Shakespeare’s enduring legacy on culture for centuries. Now a leading education and heritage charity and their publishing partner are keen to take on the mantle of continuing this legacy with a new version of the First Folio, targeted directly at children and young people.

‘’The First Folio set the highest bar for creativity, performance, and collaboration, and so we could think of no better way of marking and celebrating this important anniversary than to re-introduce the works and words of Shakespeare to young people. Empowering them to read or perform them as they choose through our new Children’s Folio,” said Professor Charlotte Scott, Director of Knowledge at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who has led the development of the Children’s Folio project.

The new book, entitled Shakespeare’s First Folio, All the Plays: A Children’s Edition, is believed to be the first fully illustrated and abridged version aimed at children aged 7 to 14.

Featuring edited versions of all 36 plays in the First Folio, all expertly abridged by the editor of the Children’s Folio, Dr Anjna Chouhan, on behalf of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. She has skillfully distilled each play to its essential characters and plot, so that children are introduced to the key moments in every play, within a compelling story and allowing them to be performed by as few as 8 people in 20 minutes, keeping Shakespeare’s original language.

“Each play is packed full of Shakespeare’s language so that budding performers might feel the texture of the words, follow the rhythms, and be excited to quote Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Rosalind, Volumnia, Coriolanus, Lady Macbeth and even King John!

I want young people to feel as though Shakespeare’s words are for them, and that they have a right to explore and enjoy all 36 plays, and more than 360 characters, without lots of interventions and people telling them that it’s too complicated. As I say in the book, editing is quite personal, and so I am honoured to offer my versions of these plays to the next generation of Shakespearians,” said Dr Chouhan.

Beautiful Words, Beautiful Images

To accompany Shakespeare’s beautiful words and phrases, the Children’s Folio has been lavishly illustrated by Emily Sutton, described by The Times as “one of our greatest children’s illustrators.”

Emily meticulously researched each play and was inspired by the SBT’s extensive collection, which includes weapons, domestic objects, textiles, and early printed books, to create a stunning series of illustrations that wrap around the pages of each play and help to further immerse the reader in the plots of the plays and the vivid world created by Shakespeare.

The Children’s Folio has been delivered by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and its longstanding publishing partner, Walker Books.

“We are so proud of this flagship project and the opportunity to celebrate one of the greatest books ever published. This wonderful new illustrated edition for children will capture the imagination of future generations and inspire them to read and perform Shakespeare for many years to come,” said Denise Johnstone-Burt, Publishing Director at Walker Books, the publisher of Shakespeare’s First Folio: All the Plays: A Children’s Edition.

Ensuring Access for the Next Generation

The first 10,000 copies of the Children’s Folio are being distributed to 6,000 primary schools and 3,000 libraries across the UK for free by the SBT, along with a suite of online teaching resources to ensure that educators get the most out of the new publication.

“The Children’s Folio will help continue to make Shakespeare’s work and language accessible and engaging, as the First Folio did over 400 years ago. We are focusing on distributing copies of the book in communities that may have traditionally felt that Shakespeare isn’t for them and with the help of new learning resources that complement the book, we hope to inspire the next generation,” continued Andy Reeves, who leads the learning team at SBT, the organisers of the annual ‘Shakespeare Week’ celebration in schools across the UK.



Competition to win copies of the Children’s Folio!

6 copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio, All the Plays: A Children’s Edition have been kindly donated by the Shakesperae Birthplace Trust.

To win a copy, draw or colour/paint a scene or character from a Shakespeare play, no larger than A3.

  • Competition open to children aged 7-14.
  • Please provide a title for your artwork with name of character/play/act, & include on reverse your name & library card number so we can contact you.
  • Entries should be handed in to any public libraries participating in Wales.
  • Closing date for entries is 30th June, 2024.

For more information on the Children’s Folio project, including access to the online teaching resources, please visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust .

Access to posters below to promote the competition.

Shakespeare’s Folio Competition Posters

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